31 July, 2013

Return of the Umbrella

Today was the day! Umbrella pick up day! I patiently waited to hear form Crate&Barrel and within minutes of getting an email that my item was ready for pick up I got a call from Fran, the woman that sorted out my umbrella mess. We got into the car and headed over there. Of course Danny wanted to check out the furniture on the second floor as soon as we got there. I think he was shopping for a couch and a bed. I found some plates that will be joining my kitchen very soon.

After Danny picked out a plum couch "there is enough room here for you and Daddy and I will not be squished," tested out a canopy bed "sit, it's quite soft", we finally went to get our umbrella cover. At last I met Fran. She is exactly what one would expect from a woman named Fran: petite, cute, dark curly hair, blue eyes, soft a bit raspy voice, and a hot pick cardigan set. I picked up my package (it was small enough to fit into a tote, which makes me wonder why exactly would they charge over $20 for shipping), hugged Fran, told her manager how great she was, and vowed to always have the store place my orders from now on.

I decided to assemble the umbrella as soon as we got home. The frame is 8.5 feet tall, I needed a small step ladder. But since I'm short, even on a step ladder I couldn't reach the top. I unwrapped most of the frame, including the arms that hold the fabric. Big mistake as I discovered later. Then I opened the cover. It was bigger than me, like a giant skirt, and most of the fabric fell to the floor of the garage and immediately picked up all the dirt off it.

Frame and cover. If you buy them together, do they come already assembled?
The plan was to climb on the step ladder, lean the frame toward me, throw the cover over it and then pull it into place. Yeah, right, in theory! I climbed, I held the cover in my left hand, I leaned the enormous – top heavy – frame toward me... and teetered dangerously back and forth on the ladder. Did I mention that I'm afraid of heights? I carefully regained my balance, got off the ladder, and thanked God for not crashing me onto the concrete floor. I needed a new plan – one where I stayed safely with both feet on the ground. So I decided to lean the frame on the step ladder.

And that is when I discovered that removing the wrappings that held the arms together was a bad idea. The arms just flailed about as I lowered the frame on the ladder and almost made it roll off and smash into pieces. I carefully balanced the frame on the ladder, put on the cover, secured it with the finial, and started to match the corners to the arms. There is a little pocket which the arm goes into, but the pocket is really small and the cover starts to pull taut so it starts to get harder after the first one.  Basically, it's like putting on eight condoms, same principal. And I had to be careful not to roll the entire thing off the ladder. Finally, success was mine! I tied the red ties and carefully lifted the now assembled umbrella back upright. Ladies and gentlemen, we have a whole and fully assembled outdoor umbrella! If only the weather would cooperate and I might actually get to use it this summer.
Waiting for sunshine.
Now, about that purple couch...

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